Fluoxetine belongs to a group of medicines called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Serotonin is one of the chemicals in your brain which helps control your mood. Fluoxetine and other SSRIs are thought to help by increasing the amount of serotonin in your brain.
Fluoxetine is used to treat:
- obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
Depression is longer lasting and/or more severe than the ‘low moods’ everyone has from time to time due to the stress of everyday life. It is thought to be caused by a chemical imbalance in parts of the brain. This imbalance affects your whole body and can cause emotional and physical symptoms such as feeling low in spirit, loss of interest in activities, being unable to enjoy life, poor appetite or overeating, disturbed sleep, often waking up early, loss of sex drive, lack of energy and feeling guilty over nothing. Fluoxetine corrects this chemical imbalance and may help relieve the symptoms of depression.
Check with your doctor if you need more information about obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
The symptoms of OCD vary from patient to patient.
This medicine is not expected to affect your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, but make sure you know how it affects you beforehand, as it can make some people dizzy or drowsy, and affect judgement, thinking and motor skills.
Ask your doctor if you have any questions about why this medicine has been prescribed for you. Your doctor may have prescribed this medicine for another reason.
When you must not take it
Do not take this medicine if:
- You are taking other medicines called Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs).
These may be used for the treatment of depression (phenelzine, tranylcypromine, moclobemide), Parkinson’s disease (selegiline) or infections (linezolid).
Do not take fluoxetine until 14 days after stopping any MAOI, and do not take MAOIs until at least 5 weeks after stopping fluoxetine.
Taking fluoxetine with a MAOI may cause a serious reaction with signs such as a sudden increase in body temperature, very high blood pressure, rigid muscles, nausea, vomiting and/or fits (convulsions).
- You are taking pimozide (Orap), a medicine used to treat disturbances in the way people think, feel or act.
- The expiry date (EXP) printed on the pack has passed.
- The packaging is torn, shows signs of tampering or it does not look quite right.
- You have had an allergic reaction to fluoxetine or any of the ingredients listed at the end of this leaflet.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include cough, shortness of breath, wheezing or difficulty breathing; swelling of the face, lips, tongue, throat or other parts of the body, rash, itching or hives on the skin; fainting or hayfever-like symptoms
If you think you are having an allergic reaction, do not take any more of the medicine and contact your doctor immediately or go to the Accident and Emergency department at the nearest hospital.
Before you start to take it
Tell your doctor if you have allergies to any other medicines, foods, preservatives or dyes.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, or plan to become pregnant. There have been reports that babies exposed to fluoxetine and other antidepressants during the third trimester of pregnancy may develop complications after birth.
Do not take this medicine whilst pregnant until you and your doctor have discussed the risks and benefits involved.
Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding, or plan to breastfeed. Fluoxetine can pass into breast milk. Do not take this medicine whilst breast-feeding until you and your doctor have discussed the risks and benefits involved
Tell your doctor if you have or have had any medical conditions, especially the following:
- epilepsy, fits or convulsions (seizures)
- heart disease or a heart attack
- breast cancer
- liver disease
- kidney disease
- a bleeding disorder or a tendency to bleed more than usual
- thoughts or actions relating to self-harm or suicide
- bipolar disorder
- intolerance or allergy to lactose. These capsules contain lactose.
Tell your doctor if you drink alcohol. Although drinking alcohol is unlikely to affect your response to fluoxetine, your doctor may suggest avoiding alcohol while you are being treated for depression.
If you have not told your doctor about any of the above, tell them before you start taking this medicine.